The culture of using digital devices is increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives and the general culture. To keep up with today’s digital world, we need to have elementary digital hygiene, claims the professor of informatics at Tallinn University, Peeter Normak.
We live in a digital world; we use computers and smart devices at home, work, school and off duty. Our professional success and well-being depend on them. This dependency is rapidly increasing. For example, it is already possible to control many household appliances from a distance, using the Internet. This also increases the importance of digital hygiene.
As with regular hygiene, digital hygiene should be taught from the ground up. It is a known fact that by the time they start school, kids have already developed their intellectual capacity and attitudes.
Computing technology is invading our everyday life. According to a survey conducted by the Information System Authority in 2014, 88% of the respondents saw their organisation’s dependency on ICT systems high or very high.
A few dozen years ago, digital devices were mainly autonomous desktop computers and the mistakes made on them only influence the users of these respective computers.
Nowadays, the volume of digital devices has increased and many of them are connected to a global network – the Internet. Furthermore, the Internet is used as a basis for a large amount of varied services. This means that a physical device or a service can be accessed from across the globe. On the other hand, it means that the actions of a single person, both voluntary and involuntary, can affect the actions and well-being of many other people.
This will become even more important in the near future with the spread of the Internet of things. According to this concept, an increasing amount of devices will be connected to the Internet, which makes them remote controlled. This is one of the fastest developing fields of technological innovation and a large number of research and development centres have been established to promote this. For example, in Estonia we have the SA Virumaa Kompetentsikeskus (the Virumaa Competence Centre).
Digital literacy has also become almost as important as literacy itself was a few centuries ago. Alas, the current situation in this field is quite horrid. A survey conducted by TNS Emor in 2014 suggests that a third of all children cannot define safe usage of a digital device.
Furthermore, 75% of the children asked said that their parents do not care about what they do with their smart devices. At the same time, most of the children who know the basics of using the devices safely, do not apply this knowledge in practice.
What is Digital Hygiene?
The word hygiene refers to a lifestyle that values cleanliness and is therefore a vital component of healthy living. A person abiding by the rules of hygiene is healthier and more favoured by his peers.
Similarly, we could define digital hygiene as the purposeful and sustainable usage of digital devices. Digital hygiene means following a list of recommendations, for example:
- Back up your files regularly
- Regularly update your operation system and other software
- Process your electronic inbox on a regular basis
- When using computers, follow the safety and ethics standards, keep away from viruses
- Keep your digital devices in working order and the batteries charged